In a zero-waste society, people will need to share and repair

Recycling can be inefficient when parts such as dashboards from cars are too hard to dismantle, says Felipe Maya.

Businesses and consumers need to stop thinking of products as things to own and move towards a culture of sharing and repairing if we are to fulfil the ambition of creating a circular economy, according to Felipe Maya, project and innovation manager at sustainable engineering firm Exergy, headquartered in Coventry, UK. Maya and his colleagues … Read more

Sustainability is a ‘top priority’ for chemists

Greening chemical reactions includes cutting the amount of energy used and reducing the need for toxic solvents.

A group of chemicals known as bi-metallics could help the pharmaceutical industry become more environmentally friendly by cutting the amount of energy used to produce drugs, according to Professor Eva Hevia from the University of Strathclyde, UK, who says that sustainability is a top priority for chemists. She has been developing applications for mixed-metal chemicals, which combine … Read more

New fathers may undergo hormonal, neural and behavioural changes

The hormone oxytocin, which derives its name from ancient Greek and means ‘swift birth’, likely plays a role in fathering. Image credit — Pxhere/JohnsonGoh, licensed under CC0

Fathers’ hormone levels and brain activity may change when they spend time with their children, helping them adapt to parenthood in a way that has been overlooked until now, according to Professor Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg, who studies children and family relations at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and was until recently at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She … Read more

‘Island of the brain’ explains how physical states affect anxiety

Anxiety disorders might be better explained by understanding the brain's way of regulating emotions.

A fold of tissue hidden deep inside the human brain which collects inputs from both inside and outside the body could explain how our physical states influence our emotions and may be the key to understanding anxiety disorders, according to Dr Nadine Gogolla, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich, Germany. … Read more

Oil-loving microbes could gobble up slicks and spills

The lingering oil slick from DeepWater Horizon was imaged off the Mississippi Delta on May 24, 2010.

Spills of crude oil that devastate huge areas of the oceanic environment could be cleaned up by naturally occurring microorganisms. It’s one application of new research into how bacteria break down oil, which could also help oil companies assess the quality of new reserves. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill released around 5 million … Read more